Life stories on a greyhound bus

I don’t know who you are. But I know you will be interested in the stories I am going to share with you. And I know you have the same beautiful stories you can share with others. Because we are all spirits in this world.

These stories happened all on a greyhound bus.

There is the most romantic love on this bus. The man, with long hair, were playing guitar at one greyhound bus station. The NBC reporters were taking photos of him. After playing, he asked a girl beside him about the time. Thus this young guitarist and this beautiful young girl got to know each other. He was headed towards Mexico, seeming to join a musical gathering there. They both missed their bus. So at a gas station, they asked a truck driver to give them a ride. They seemed to have some fun in the truck. The girl even drove for a while. The truck driver speeded on the way and was arrested by the police. The two headed forward and appeared on our bus. It was romantic. But later on the bus, the girl somehow didn’t want to go together with the boy to Mexico. The boy wanted to make some tries but also said he respected her decision.

Two journalists from St. Louis visited the boy and the girl and got this beautiful story. One journalist has a big beard and is very talkative. I can see he is having lots of fun as a journalist. He is very interested in people’s stories. I was saying to myself this is the real journalist. I was already fed up with those political journalists who don’t have any facts. I was determined that if he ever asked for my story, I was going to ask him to tell me his story first. For whatever reason, he didn’t visit me. The other journalist is quieter. So he is the photographer.

On this bus, one side of me is a horseman. He dressed up like a cowboy. But he told me: no cow, I am a horseman. He has a horsetail on the back of his head. He told me he is very interested in training horses. I asked him what is the most important thing in training a horse. He said patience. I asked: anything else? He said, patience, patience, patience. I asked him how much time he needs to understand a horse. This horseman manifested a very good thinking ability by the way he answered this question. He told me that if it is a “wild horse”, he needs “three months” to be able to “ride on the back” of the horse. He is interested in anything about the horse. He watched the movie Horse Whisper and said that movie has a lot of interesting facts. He was watching a horseman novel on the bus. On the cover of that book is a horseman who looks exactly like him. He talked with me about adopting various kinds of horses and the horse business. But I know he is not doing it for business.

On the other side of me is an old cow. He just looks like a cow. He has a black round hat on his head. He wore a big white sweater. He has a coat, which is black and white plaid. He looks just like a cow. I asked him if he is working at the farm. He told me he is milking the cow at the farm. This old guy has a lot of energy. He just kept talking forever. He has had many kinds of jobs. As a painter, he fell off the ladder for many times. He was showing off his scars on the bus. He is a very risky guy. I told him he was a cow. He got a little angry and said I was a donkey. Then I told him maybe he was right because I like the Democrat. Then he told me he likes the republican. He doesn’t like Bill Clinton. He has his reasons and I agree Clinton didn’t do perfectly on those personal things. I had him agree with me that Clinton has done a lot of good things too. He voted for Bush every time, the senior and the junior Bush, plus Dole. Just this normal farm worker really understands American politics and health care. He has a lot of real facts that I appreciate very much. There is one thing I admire him the most. I saluted him for saying that. He said he believes in God. But God never tells you to kill people. I asked him: didn’t Bush say that his war on Iraq was because God told him to do so? He smiled and shook his big head: no, no, God didn’t tell you to kill people. At the end, I told him he was now an elephant. He grunted and said I was a fish. I don’t understand how I became a fish.

There is also a black woman who understands American education and the history of the African American. She is a mathematical teacher in a middle school of Washington State. As part of Bush’s Left No Child Behind federal policy, in Washington State, every teacher has to pass an exam to get the certificate as a teacher. She was worried about this test. So she brought a book Mathematics Made Simple with her on the bus. This normal teacher understands the black history and she shares the stories with her ancestors. She told me now the condition for the black people is much, much better. But there is still something not sufficient. She told me why the black is regarded as weak in academics. She said that is not the case because the black only constitutes a very small percentage of the whole population. In normal people’s impression, the black are very good at sports and music. That is just because they are very outstanding in those areas. But are the black weak in academics? Although not as outstanding as the black are in the sports and music, there are a lot of excellent blacks in the academics. They are just not equally popularized. People tend to ignore them. The press doesn’t report them. From my personal experience, I know many excellent blacks in the academics. It is true. She said because the public has such wrong impression that the black are bad in academics thus the teacher, as many teachers normally tend to do, will only focus on the good students, leaving the black kids behind. Little kids, she said, are most in need of support. They need to be encouraged. It is very important for the kids. Because of such lack of encouragement from the teachers, the black kids don’t want to study that hard as other kids, making things worse. So this cycle becomes worse and worse. I understand what she means. The encouragement for the kids is very important. When I was in my first semester of my primary school, I got 200(100 for math, 100 for Chinese). For the first time in my life, my mom bought me a chocolate. After many years have passed, I still remember what that chocolate looked like and how it tasted. That was a very important encouragement in my study. When the black woman said that many teachers are just very horrible in treating students, I went ahead telling her those teachers treat students unequally because they don’t understand every kid is actually the same, black kids or white kids are actually the same, good grades kids and bad grades kids are actually the same. When I was a kid, many people would say I am very stupid. Actually I am not stupid. I have a very good brain. But I was too focused on my brain, the inside, on how I feel, thus I am not very attentive to the outside. Thus my eye, ear, nose are not very strong. (But actually in any sports/games I was interested in, I was still very good, very agile and quick.) Thus I appeared to be slow to response to the outside. So people thought I was stupid, slow, not as clever as my two brothers. But when I got into school, I was very good. Why? Because in school I can just sit down and study. I don’t need to be very tentative to the outside. Under such a condition, my brain, my feelings are functioning very well. I can feel exactly where I am in the study, what resource I can use to achieve new breakthrough, how I can progress step by step. But for other kids, they are too focused on the outside. There are too much distraction for them thus they cannot settle down quickly and focus on the study. If I focus less on the inside and more on the outside, I am as agile and quick-witted as other people. If those kids can focus more on the inside and less on the outside, they can also study very well, maybe better than me. So actually there isn’t much difference between us. We are just the same. The teachers have to understand this and teach each student accordingly and equally. I told the black woman she will be one of the best teachers in her state and her kids will love her very much. She thanked me and said like me she should be very much focusing on the exam in recent days. I wished her success and said many kids will have a very good teacher in their lives. I told her that I am also very interested in education and have decided to devote my life to education. But instead of teaching students in the classroom, I took a different approach. I like computer programming. I used elearning to help all the teachers and students. She is very interested in that.

There is also a student of my age who is teaching himself oriental medicines. He is studying very hard to learn and progress. He understands what is the most difficult in self-teaching: to know what to learn. That is actually also the great strength of self-teaching. I was wondering why he couldn’t get into college since he is very clever. He told me that when he was in the primary school, he had some certain problems. For example, when he looked at letters, he would take B as 3. Thus the school decided he couldn’t be taught. His mom had to take him home and teach him herself. He learned a lot. He demonstrated his understanding of the oriental medicines, for example, ginger is good for stomach and so on. Quite impressive. He said he is interested in a kind of acupuncture which uses fingers. (I don’t quite know what it is.) He is worried about money to get into college. So he plans to join the air force first because he can get the education there and at the same time he can see the world. He told me he could join the army, the navy and the air force. But he seems to like the idea of jumping out the airplane. He was fired several times because the bosses thought he was stupid, not good at dealing with people. Then I told him the story that as a kid I was regarded as stupid and slow-witted too. But I can change. He can too. I wished him keeping well when I got off the bus.

On this bus, there are also many other interesting people. There was a fine lady who came to Missouri to solve some problems of her son. It seemed to be very serious problems. But she was very light-hearted and joked people around. A very funny lady.

There was also an old couple of Mormon Church with very traditional clothing. The old lady was weaving a sweater on the bus and the old gentleman was reading their bible.

On the bus, there was also a young girl with her grandma. They look like their ancestors were from east Europe. The young girl looked very much like my cousin. And every move of her is just like my cousin’s. They smile the same. She just kept talking with her grandma, not paying attention to anything happening around.

Far back in the bus, there were some young chicks. The old cow besides me told me that she is a 15-year-old chick. I was quite surprised that he even knew she was 15 years old. This is a proof that my English is still not good enough. I tried to catch the words from far back of the bus. I only caught one sentence that assures me that she is a chick.

There was also a runaway guy on this bus. A group of Gang got on the bus with him together to protect him and the gang got off at the next bus station.

A black priest was also on this bus. An Asian girl met her in the bus station and listened carefully to every word he was speaking. He just kept talking with a constant speed and tried to help many people, but sometimes ended up offending some other people very much. A very nice guy with some limitations.

On this bus, I saw many spirits. Everyone is very beautiful and has a lot of beautiful stories. I enjoyed listening to their stories and thanked them for sharing their stories with me. Through them I saw myself. Myself became more complete through them. They are all my friends. As I told the old cow, what are friends? You may have many friends in your life. Some stay longer with you, some stay shorter. Except your wife, your family, most of them won’t stay the whole life with you. Friends come and go. So although we only share a very small part of our lives together, I take him as my friend and I will always keep him in my memory.

From their dress, I looked through to their ancestors. I know their present. I want to know their past. I also look forward to their future. What should be their future? How can we help them so they can stay alive, keep well and enjoy life in this world? How can we make this world more stable, more peaceful and calm, progress step by step? What can we do?

Thank you and keep well, my friends.

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Filed under Essay, Featured Essays, Liberal Arts

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